‘I will encourage our people to work hard and avoid anything that will bring bad name to Nigeria. We need to set a good example for other countries.’
The state level of the Magic Moment Bee was held recently at the MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos, with Mackenzee Okwah of Atlantic Hall, Epe, emerging first in the contest that involved junior students from different secondary schools in the state. For coming tops, young Okwah was presented with a trophy, award plaque and N100,000 cash prize. He will also be representing Lagos in the national level coming up later in the year. A brainchild of MAGIC Moments Concerns Limited, the contest, which was conceived to help students increase their vocabulary, learn concepts and develop proper usage of English words will no doubt, boost the confidence of the participants in public speaking and presentation. Makenzi, a returnee student from the United States of America, who will be representing the state at the national level, speaks to CHUKS NWANNE on the competition and his future plans.
How did you enter for the competition?
I was actually selected by my English teacher; she said I’m very good in spelling; she always gives us spelling Bees and I barely fail any of them. They also picked two other people from my level (JSS 3) and we had a spelling Bee in my school. One of us was eliminated, so, the other student and I represented my school in the contest today.
How challenging was it?
I came from America and their spellings are different from the British, which we follow in Nigeria. The words I actually failed are words like ‘centre’ and ‘colour’, which in America are spelt as ‘center’ and ‘color’. So, it was really a difficult one trying to deal with the differences; I had a hard time coping with the British spelling instead of my usual American. But I thank God that I emerged first after all.
How was the preparation like?
My parents helped me spell in America, so, when I came back to Nigeria, I brought a dictionary with me; I read the dictionary every night. When they told us about the spelling Bee, I started reading my dictionary back to back. When the organisers came to our school, they gave us a book that will help us in the competition. From the day they gave me that book, I read it every night till today.
Any tension during the contest?
Well, I was somehow fidgeting because there are some easy words people were failing, and I was afraid that I might just go up there and mess myself up and will be a disappointment to all the people that came to see me. I was a bit scared for sometimes, but I prayed a little on the stage; some people must have noticed that. I asked God to be with me and here we are now.
What career do you want to pursue in future?
I’m looking forward to being a surgeon, but if not, my second choice is being a music artiste/producer.
What’s your interest in music?
Well, I like the fame that people get from it, because I want to be famous in future.
My parents are actually medical people. I like human body and there are some things I want to learn about the human body.
But if you are to choose between the two, which one will come first?
I will choose musician/producer.
What’s the next stage of the competition?
When I read the handbook, I saw national level after state level, but I’m not sure; we may be having national level.
Are you confident of coming tops there?
With God by my side, I’m confident.
Are you saying you are better than everyone?
No, no, I’m not saying that, I just think I’m a bit more determined.
So, it’s about determination?
… And hardwork.
Your parents, are they here?
No. In fact, I feel like there’s something missing from this whole competition. But if my parents hear about this, they will be happy and proud of me
When did you return from the US?
I came back in 2006.
Any plan of going back?
My mother wants me back after my JSS 3, but my father wants me to stay until I am through with my SSS 3, so, I’m not really sure.
Some people travel out and refuse to come back. Are you thinking in that line?
Oh, no, no! Of course I must come back to Nigeria, I just have to.
What will be your contribution to the country?
I will encourage our people to work hard and avoid anything that will bring bad name to Nigeria. We need to set a good example for other countries.